Glen Grant 5 Decades

Glen Grant: Five Decades (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 12 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Light golden grain colour.

Viscosity: Very very slow thin streaks.

Nose: Raisins and brandy cream. Marzipan and icing sugar. Lemon sorbet. Cherries and fruitcake. Water makes more butterscotch and sorbet with an apple touch.

Body: Trifle. Butterscotch. Noticeable alcohol initially. Lemongrass. Water removes the alcohol and adds pepper, spicy red wine, light lemon and raspberry meringue.

Finish: Dry oak. Peppery. Light sherry spice. Water adds spicy red wine, trifle and makes more peppery. Quite dry at the very end.

Conclusion: The level of progression in this whisky is amazing. When you first let the aroma touch the nose you get the image of a fruity sweet and creamy whisky, a light aperitif or the like. The body follows this, expanding on it with delicate butterscotch and pavlova elements. A gentle and kind whisky, that then moves into a peppery and red wine spiced flavour that consumes what came before and rolls out into a finish that is like a delicious negative image of the whisky you were first introduced to. The way it handles two such different style seamlessly within one whisky is amazing.

Because it is so graceful that finish is initially shocking, but never unwelcome, it is so interesting, and is almost a way of reflecting perfectly the range of whisky that went into it, reflecting a whole lifespan of whisky in a single glass.

It is effectively two whiskys, at least, and I love both of them, the sorbet lemon and butterscotch and the red wine spice and pepper. It shouldn’t be possible to put two such different styles side by side. If I had to give down points, and I am reaching at this point, I would say that each individual element, the smooth easygoing and the rich spicy whisky, has a whisky that exists that is dedicated to that style and so does it better. There is however none I have tried that put the two together so well, so that is only a point if your preference for one style over the other is important.

Overall a supremely well crafted whisky with immense range and if you get the chance to try it, it is an excellent expression.

Background: Well technically 12 year whisky from what I hear, this was made to celebrate five decades of Dennis Malcolm working at Glen Grant under nearly every role imaginable. He got to select the casks to make this with some 50, 40, 30, 20 and 12 year whisky in it. So, yeah, since you have to list by youngest whisky it is technically 12 year but that is only half the story. This was drunk at the amazing Independent Spirit Rare Whisky event at Circo. When they say rare they mean rare. This was the only bottle allocated to the entire south west of England. We had five whiskys that night, with other guests, my friend Matt, and Chris from Independent spirits all giving their thoughts. Since I know how easy it is to get psychosomatic flavours after someone else mentions them consider the above a view of the general opinion on the whisky so I can call it a feature rather than a bug. Due to the nature of the event my notes were somewhat haphazard, but hopefully I’ve managed to put them together into something readable.